Longtime Vail Valley acupuncturist retiring | VailDaily.com

Longtime Vail Valley acupuncturist retiring

BIZ Geri Schmitt DT 3-28-12

EDWARDS, Colorado – Geri Schmidt has had a lot of careers – public health nurse, restaurant owner, retail store owner and, for much of the past two decades, a specialist in acupuncture and homeopathic medicine. Now it’s time for the next adventure.

Schmidt turns 70 this year, and has decided it’s time to close A Wellness Center, the Asian medicine center she’s run in Riverwalk’s Diamond Building since 1998. Schmidt is selling much of her office and treatment equipment, along with furnishings and decorations. But she’s keeping her supply of Chinese herbs – those will probably play a big role in whatever she decides to do next.

Schmidt’s interest in Chinese medicine started in the 1980s, when she was a co-owner of Vail’s Hong Kong Cafe. On a trip to China with other members of the Colorado Restaurant Association, one of the tour members became sick and ended up in a clinic. Since Schmidt is a registered nurse, she went along to help if she could.

The doctors in the clinic used acupuncture on the tour member – who recovered quickly. Schmidt was intrigued, but there wasn’t a lot of English-language information about acupuncture available at the time.

A few years later, Schmidt learned about a Chinese medicine class aimed at Westerners. Not long after, Schmidt completed a four-year program in Santa Fe.

With her acupuncturist’s certification in hand, Schmidt spent a couple of years working with local chiropractor Jeff Roth – who is still in practice in Glenwood Springs. She struck out on her own in 1998, when her spot in the Riverwalk center was finished.

Since then, Schmidt has treated hundreds of local residents and visitors for everything from fertility problems to cosmetic treatments.

Some of that treatment is done with acupuncture needles – Schmidt has a host of photos of smiling kids with needles in various spots – but much is done with herbs and items ranging from antler velvet to seahorses.

While Schmidt is selling off much of what’s in her office now, she’s keeping the large wooden cabinet filled with herbs and other items.

Those herbs, often cooked into drinkable potions, can be used for any number of things – her anti-aging tonic, made from antler velvet, organic vodka and other items, has been popular over the years.

But Schmidt is most proud of the help she’s provided to couples who were having trouble conceiving children, the oldest of whom are in high school, or nearly there, now.

She’s been known to cook herbs for those who don’t have the time to baby-sit a kettle, and has a wealth of knowledge about the best ways to cook, then consume them,

Schmidt’s a big believer in the power and effectiveness of herbal medicine, and said that will probably play a big part of whatever she does next. And, while she’s at an age when many people are thinking about how best to take it easy, Schmidt said she’ll take some time off, then start thinking about her next career.

“There’s so many opportunities in life I can’t decide right now,” she said.

Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or smiller@vaildaily.com.

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